When you have one property, running your vacation rental business might seem like a breeze. And once you have some success, you might decide to expand your business by adding more in-stay services and managing another property. Then another property. And another.
Suddenly, you’re overloaded with scheduling cleans and maintenance, the fear of double bookings, and time-consuming guest communications.
But scaling your vacation rental business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Vacation rental software solutions can help you navigate common property management challenges while maximizing your time and revenue.
Use this guide to the 10 benefits of vacation rental software to discover:
- The biggest challenges when scaling a property management business
- The benefits of vacation rental software
- The best vacation rental software for your business
Biggest challenges in scaling a property management business
If you’ve had success with your property management business so far, it makes sense to scale your business and generate more revenue. Especially since the property management industry shows no signs of slowing down.
But, it’s important to keep the following challenges in mind as you scale, so you know exactly what to expect and how to mitigate them along the way.
Time-consuming guest communication
Managing properties and communicating with guests nonstop is time-consuming. It can be hard to find time to look for new properties to add to your portfolio when your ratings depend on responsiveness—meaning you can’t afford to miss messages or be slow to respond. Quickly responding to guests can also improve the chances of your listings appearing on the first page of platforms like Airbnb.
To navigate this challenge, it’s important to communicate with your guests in ways that meet their needs, like making sure they have all the info they need before they arrive. For example, access codes for self-check-in, personalized recommendations, and speedy communication will go a long way in boosting guest satisfaction and growth.
Tough to find enough good staff
Today, guests not only expect a quick response and turnaround rate, but also a high level of cleanliness and well-maintained properties and amenities. Due to pandemic-related labor shortages, finding great, dependable staff to help scale your property management business and perform vacation rental cleaning and maintenance can be challenging. This can negatively impact your ability to scale, as you’re limited by your and your teams’ capacity.
As Wolf Worster, Director of Partnerships at TurnoverBnBVacation says, “Rental management companies will have to continue to adapt to labor shortages just as they do with other changing aspects of our industry. One way to adapt to the challenge of hiring reasonably priced and qualified cleaners is by accessing them through marketplaces or online groups. Marketplaces play a role in keeping rates competitive by virtue of their bidding process.”
Manually processing payments
Taking time to manually process each payment slows down the checkout process and can negatively impact conversion rates and the guest experience—which can negatively affect reviews and bookings. You’ll also need to remember to charge your guests before and/or after their stay, and will likely be subject to credit card processing fees.
Instead, you might want to offer multiple payment options to your guests for increased flexibility. For example, providing payment options like Paypal, Stripe, and VacationRentPayment, in addition to collecting guest payments through online travel agencies (OTAs), helps bypass commissions and give guests more freedom.
Double bookings and channel management
When you don’t have a centralized system to track bookings and optimize and maintain your listings across channels, it’s easy for double-bookings to happen, or let your listings get outdated.
To grow sustainably, you need to be able to manage your listings across multiple channels and automatically populate bookings into a centralized calendar—so you never have to cancel on a guest at the last minute or miss an opportunity. Listing on multiple channels also lets you cast a wider net and get your property in front of more potential guests.
Meeting guest expectations
Your ability to delight your guests and meet their expectations directly translates to your ability to scale. You need to go above and beyond to stand out and get rave reviews. For example, offering flexible check-in or check-out, pick-up or drop-off services, mid-stay cleaning, bedding, the option of choosing a room with a view, and digital guidebooks can differentiate you from your competitors and impress your guests.
If you’re using Hostfully, you can also integrate our property management software (PMS) with baby equipment providers, luggage storage, and ground transportation to make life easier for your guests and level up their experience.
Handling business accounting manually is a huge challenge. You need to know the basics, how to find and keep track of information about income and expenses, make financial projections, and calculate your taxes.
As you grow, it gets more difficult to do all this efficiently and with no errors. And, without full visibility of your accounts, it’s hard to make smart or sustainable financial decisions.
It’s also important to keep in mind that OTAs each have their own payment schedules. This can create cash flow problems and limit your ability to understand and predict your financial situation.
The answer lies in integrating accounting software—like Quickbooks or Ximplifi—with your PMS to automatically sync revenue and expenses in one platform. These dedicated accounting tools help you keep a record of your expenses and losses, which you’ll need to file for tax deductions. They also facilitate inventory management, issuing invoices, and staying on top of everything with automatically generated reports. Best of all, you can take business decisions based on solid data rather than gut feeling.
10 Benefits of vacation rental management software
A PMS can help you manage and scale your vacation rental business by automating repetitive tasks, eliminating scheduling and staff challenges, and freeing you up to create an exceptional guest experience.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of vacation rental management software:
Better guest communication with automated messages
Property management software can help automate and streamline guest communications and significantly cut response times.
With Hostfully, you can set up automated messaging that reduces time spent on repetitive communications and tasks like answering guest questions and facilitating last-minute requests like late check-out.
Hostfully also lets you interact with your guests via their preferred channels while giving you the chance to monetize upsells through browser-based digital guidebooks.
Use digital guidebooks to:
- Answer guest questions in advance
- Provide useful recommendations and in-stay services
- Improve the contactless experience.
You can also place QR codes inside your property for quick (and contactless!) guest access to personalized guidebooks or send guests links to detailed instructions about your appliances or tech. That way you can always answer their questions on time, provide the right resources, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Then, use the Splash Screen feature to ethically capture all the guest emails listed on your booking and add them to an email distribution list for broader reach and repeat bookings.
Automate repetitive or manual tasks
More and more, property managers big and small are looking to automate their internal processes so they can focus entirely on their guests. In fact, in our most recent Hospitality Report, 16% of respondents who listed technology as a challenge specified automation as their biggest pain point.
With a comprehensive PMS like Hostfully, you can automate and personalize your messaging within a unified inbox, automate cleaning and maintenance scheduling, and auto-populate guidebooks with guest names and relevant information. You can also automatically manage and optimize property listings across channels, and view all your bookings in a central calendar.
By automating all these manual processes, you’ll never make mistakes by manually copying/pasting guest information or forget to respond to an urgent request or last-minute booking.
Reach a wider audience
A strong PMS will help you reach a wider audience by effectively marketing and listing your properties across popular distribution channels like Vrbo, Airbnb, and Booking.com, as well as niche channels if that’s where your guests are.
If you’re using Hostfully’s Channel Manager feature, you can list on multiple platforms, including your white-label direct booking website—and reduce your reliance on one platform.
And, when you’re ready to update your listings, Hostfully lets you automatically update your listing descriptions, rates, and images across all channels at once, which saves a ton of time and manual effort.
No more double bookings
A double booking can be detrimental to good reviews and growth—and can even get you banned on some OTAs. Using Hostfully’s Channel Manager, you can rest assured that you aren’t double-booked across platforms by viewing and managing all your listings in one place.
Higher profits with direct booking websites
A direct booking website helps you ensure a frictionless booking experience, provide secure online payments for guests, and sidestep OTA fees. You can also access all your guest data, so you can market to them and drive repeat bookings. OTAs, by contrast, don’t let you access important guest information like emails.
Hostfully’s website builder and direct booking widget let you create intuitive direct booking websites without any experience, so you can tap into higher profit margins and better scale your business.
Automating your payments can improve your relationships with guests and property owners. Hostfully integrates with payment processing tools that automatically collect payments from guests—and owners always receive the proper amount. This saves you hours of manual work and lessens your chances of making costly mistakes.
Always get the best rates
To get and give the best rates, you need dynamic pricing tools that adjust your pricing in real-time to shifts in market demand.
Combine your pricing tool with Hostfully’s PMS to easily set discounts for regular bookings, dynamically price listings on your calendar, adjust prices across distribution channels, and get more direct bookings.
Improved guest experience
In our Hospitality Report, 27% of respondents claimed that property management platforms had the greatest impact on guest satisfaction in 2021. And it’s a number that’s likely to rise due to shifts in guest interactions and expectations post-Covid.
If you’re using Hostfully, you can elevate the entire guest experience by making sure guests have all the information and customer support they need before, during, and after their stay with customized digital guidebooks or automated messages. It also saves you more time by automating internal processes like payments, scheduling maintenance and cleaning, and online bookings, so you can focus on impressing your guests. You can also integrate with guest experience tools like activity booking, ground transport, and luggage storage for added ease.
As mentioned above, Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo have different payout processes and fee structures that can lead to issues in cash flow or accurately predicting revenue. With enhanced reporting, you can tweak your accounting based on your business model and reservation data, rather than waiting for payments to come in.
Hostfully takes it one step further by letting you create your own equations in the report based on your particular needs: like deducting fees against tax or splitting OTA fees between guests and owners. Comprehensive data points help you make data- and guest-driven decisions instead of relying on guesswork—and personalize and improve the guest experience.
Your vacation rental software should easily integrate with your tech stack to help you grow as a tech-enabled business.
Hostfully integrates with popular accounting software like QuickBooks and Ximplifi so you can easily sync and manage all your expenses and payments, and track your financial health all in one place.
Vacation rental software benefits: delight your guests and boost revenue
As a growing property management company, you’re likely faced with various challenges: juggling guest communications, scheduling cleaning, last-minute cancellations, and property upkeep—all while trying to expand your portfolio and keep owners happy.
When you use the right vacation rental software you can sustainably scale your business by automating manual or repetitive tasks, creating a direct booking site, and curating personalized guest experiences that will have them coming back for more.
And, when you use a vacation rental software like Hostfully, you can:
- Improve guest communication with automated messages
- Automate repetitive or manual tasks
- Reach a wider audience
- Prevent double bookings
- Automate payments
- Get the best rates
- Improve the guest experience
- Enhance reporting
- Streamline accounting
Frequently asked questions about benefits of vacation rental software
How do I manage properties remotely?
To manage properties remotely it’s important to invest in vacation rental software that helps manage and streamline your processes including listing distribution, scheduling cleaning, and guest communications.
Vacation rental software like Hostfully takes it one step further by centralizing all your guest communications in a unified inbox, creating white-label direct booking sites, and integrating with popular third-party tools that boost the guest experience.
Does Hostfully have a mobile app?
Yes, Hosftully does have a mobile app functionality that lets you check lead statuses on the go, manage your booking channels and calendar, and keep in touch with your guests. Bookings from different channels like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com are also color coded in the calendar for a quick temperature check of your upcoming reservations.
Is vacation rental software worth it?
Yes, vacation rental software is worth it if you’re looking to scale your short-term rental management business. There are many benefits to vacation rental software, including:
- Better guest messaging with automated communication
- The ability to automate repetitive or manual tasks
- Reach a wider audience
- No more double bookings
- Higher profits with direct booking websites
- Automated payments
- Always get the best rates
- Improved guest experience
- Enhanced reporting
- Streamlined accounting